A Rich Life: it’s about more than money

What does it truly mean to live a rich life? Is it all about accumulating wealth and assets, having expensive possessions and a lavish lifestyle? Or is there more to it than just the dollars and cents?

Article Hero Image

Firstly, let’s acknowledge the importance of money in our lives. It’s true that it provides us with the necessities of life and the resources we need, like shelter. But money cannot guarantee a life of satisfaction, inner peace and wisdom. Money cannot buy love, contentment and compassion.

Dr. Ted Klontz, a renowned expert in financial psychology, once said that we often try to use money to fight against insecurities and discomforts. But it’s not an effective solution. We tend to run out of life before we realize it’s not about the money and that money isn’t everything.

Let’s look at two real-world examples of this.

Does money make people rich?

Adolf Merckle, once Germany’s wealthiest man with a personal fortune of US$12.8 billion, lost around US$3.6 billion in 2008. Despite remaining one of the five richest men in Germany, he was unsatisfied and wanted to regain his position. He made a series of risky investments to make up for the losses, ultimately losing almost everything and tragically ending his own life.

In contrast, Leonard Gigowski lived a modest life as a butcher and grocer in Milwaukee, Wis. He found happiness through his passions — ballroom dancing and pigeon racing. After he died at 90 years old, it was discovered that he left behind a US$13-million scholarship fund for the St. Thomas More High School, where he regularly visited and sometimes ate lunch with the students.

Gigowski is a true example of having lived a rich life; one that is fulfilling and true to him. Merckle appeared to have it all: Billions of dollars, deep knowledge of investing and a perceived power and influence that came with wealth. Yet, in the end, he suffered immense personal loss. 

The difference between being driven by increasing wealth versus finding fulfillment in life is being true to oneself. These two examples demonstrate the importance of understanding the “human side of money” and aligning our financial decisions with our core values.

7 ways to live a rich life without lots of money

Secondly, know that there are essentials for living a good life with things that money alone can’t buy. Here they are:

  1. Purpose: Having direction, motivation and a sense of satisfaction leads to increased happiness and wellbeing.
  2. Fulfillment: Feeling content with your experiences and accomplishments can lead to a more meaningful life that’s not solely dependent on material wealth or possessions.
  3. Authenticity: Being true to yourself and your values, which can result in a greater sense of self-awareness, confidence and satisfaction. This allows you to live a more genuine and purposeful life; one that’s not solely defined by external factors like money or societal expectations.
  4. Gratitude: Focusing on the positive and appreciating what you have can cultivate greater happiness, improved relationships and an optimistic outlook. It allows you to see beyond material wealth and find joy in the simple things in life.
  5. Compassion: Genuine care and concern for others cannot be purchased with money.
  6. Wisdom: A deep understanding of oneself, others and the world can help with decision making and empathy. It allows you to see beyond the pursuit of material wealth and focus on what truly matters for a fulfilling life. 
  7. Contentment: This is about being happy and satisfied with what you have, rather than constantly striving for more material possessions. This can lead to peace of mind, reduced stress and appreciating a meaningful life outside of material wealth and possessions.

What is a rich life?

A rich life is about much more than the accumulation of wealth and possessions. It is about discovering the deeper aspects of oneself and cultivating a life based on purpose, fulfillment, authenticity, gratitude, compassion, wisdom and contentment. 

These are the essential ingredients that make a life truly rich, as well as fulfilling and satisfying. Money may provide the necessities of life, but it cannot guarantee a life of true happiness and inner peace. 

By aligning our financial decisions with our core values and understanding the “human side of money,” we can create a life that is truly rich in every sense of the word. Remember, the true richness of life comes from within, not from external factors such as money or material possessions.

This article was written by Shaun Maslyk from MoneySense and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.

blue background

Speak to an advisor

Connect with an IG advisor to uncover your personal financial goals, and how you can achieve them.